First let me say i'm new to geocaching and gps's. Only in the sense of civilian. My military gps and mapping skills are pretty old and rusty so they probably don't even count :-)
I was introduced to geotracking by a co-worked (thanks! :0) and after hearing of how to get the data for caches into the unit it came down to. Hey...I want plug and play. I don't like converting this, transfer there, do this do that, then get it into your system (or carry yet another device)
so that pretty much sealed it for me....Checked out the nuvi, eh...they aren't ready yet for car to trail, just not advanced enough. Give it time few years, who knows.
Colorado...lol...after reading all the problems here? nope...i'll pass.
Hmm...that left me with the tried and true i head people discussing the 60's and 70's. but then that defeats my plug and play now doesn't it. So that left me to the Oregon and of course might as well go to the 400T when you look at the options and costs.
So here are my first impressions.
Use: extremely easy, intuitive controls, with a few key presses you can figure out what you don't know.
Geocaching info: wow...plug it in, download the GPX or build the query (pay users) and have it send you the entire list, grab the larger file drop it on your device folder under GPX and your done. Counts are easy to setup. It's just 'easy' I think there's even an 'easy button' built in somewhere. :-)
Accuracy - well this is very important, but in my search for the device for me someone said give 10 people the same device no matter how good they'll all end up standing in different spots. So it seems to me 30ft is the basis. Too many variables are there, who placed the cache, how accurate were they, weather, your skills, reception that day, etc.
So i look at my house on the map, hmmm looks like it has me positioned 1 street over. Wow...that's a long way off. Not sure why, maybe the map is not accurate, who knows)
Ok well what about caches. We'll several population type caches i've been within a few feet of, if not right on top of it.
So the real test began this weekend.
Went out to a local park going for 4 multi caches, none are easy and it's alot of main trails with unmarked trails and then the make your own trail (i like to follow the compass personally...shortest distance (sometimes)) :-) more on this later.
So i hit my caches. 1st one I'm off by 8 ft of where it ended up being at. It was a hard find and i made so many b tracks it's just one big black blotch on that area :-)
Next cache, pretty easy, put me within 16 ft of it.
3rd cache - 3 legs, part 1 was within 22 ft, part two ironicly said 1ft, i was about to give up, mumbled under my breath about what the heck there's nothing here and looked up. wham...1 ft in front of me a tag on a tree (wow...) 3rd leg, put me 9 ft off.
onto my 4th cache - very tricky cache, i went compass route crossing the trails, was in heavy brush, dense coverage, no issues. Right to all my points each time being within about 20 ft of the actual location of the object.
So back to my 1st cache...took me awhile and i finally found it after getting the other 3 caches done. This one took me all over the place, places i'd already been. luckily I zoomed out and avoided my 'like to go by compass' otherwise i would have been crossing the river in two places. Having zoomed out it was a little more of a walk but it put my back on nice trails without having to go chest deep through the river :-) and...untamed areas :-0
My tracks where i know i walked paths overlay each other perfectly even on zoom, i was able to pinpoint my way back to a spot by tracking back following these tracks, dropped the unit once about 10 foot down to the river, thank god it hit only the rocks and stayed on a rock :-) picked it up and i saw what looked like the screen had been burned in like when you leave a tv on a still picture too long. All i had to do was recycle the power, that's the only impact of the drop and it hit gravel screen first. no damage anywhere. Durability A+
Wet sweaty hands and sweat dripping all into the touchpad, no problems, still worked was able to nav through the screens. the brightness. well if your used to the 60 i suppose it is a big difference, but i didn't see it being of any problem at all in the canopy or in the wide open with sun above me.
Now it's weird but my GPS accuracy was always showing 32-36 ft. Garmin told me to reset it (hold upper left while powering on) then leave out for 20 minutes. So i did that leaving gps at normal 20 minutes, no change, reset again changing it immeadiately to WAAS, 20 minutes later down to 28ft.
Garmin seems to think it should show somethign like 8-15 ft. I haven't seen that yet. Tried both of the same resets above again but leaving it out for 1 hour each time. down to about 22-24ft accuracy now. Weird i have 10 sats and most all are D. anyhow about 4 hours of battery use on saturday and from 9am - 6pm over 15.6 miles of walking and my batteries died probably about 4pm. Not too shabby considering i maxed out the detail and brightness. Kept it on the entire time.
So my review is it's a go it's easy to use/learn, tracks and downloads your geocaches very easily for you, excellent battery life for a device, heavy duty design, took a nice beating and came out like new still, put me within the 30ft envelope consistently even in some places where it was almost dark due to overhead cover and most of the time it put me pretty spot on.
I like it...my only bug is if garmin thinks it should show 8-15 ft do i have a dude (my weekend adventure doesn't point to it) and then why does it show me living on another street (bad topo map?) it's definately like 200ft away so it's nothing to do with the gps accuracy number.
i'll update you on any other caches i do, i'm trying to keep logs and will try to get more detailed in them.
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.
I have to say, it's very helpful to have you doing so much early testing, giving me a place to check against and refer people to. I know there are a lot of other people here who are very appreciative as well. Keep up the good work.